“Here to Help”- Barnet UNISON’s position

In the last few months Senior Library Managers, consultants and other Library staff have been in Barnet Libraries during Self-Service hours wearing green T-shirts bearing the words “Here to help”. The Council is employing them to encourage the public to use self-service machines and people to sign up for access to unstaffed opening hours. Many members of the public are under the misguided impression these are the volunteers as described by the Council in various statements concerning the Library changes. This situation has arisen because the Council has failed to recruit volunteers for Libraries.

 

In June this year Barnet UNISON raised objections to the Council imposing Here to Help duties on Library workers. We did this because our members had informed us of their concerns around this issue.

To continue reading this document click below link

Here to Help – UNISON’s Position

URGENT: Level 2 Teaching Assistants Pay Ballot. VOTE YES

Barnet Council has issued Pay Ballot letters to all level two Teaching Assistants and the deadline to send back to the council by 24 November 2017.

It is important that every single level 2 Teaching Assistant responds back with a YES vote.

Below are Teaching Assistants who all vote YES for the grading appeal.

What will happen if we win the grading appeal?

The current salary range for a Level 2 Teaching Assistant is:

£19, 917 to £21,884

If the Grading Appeal is successful ALL level 2 Teaching Assistants would move to the new grade which is:

£21, 276 to £23,802

We need everyone to vote YES in order that Barnet UNISON can submit the appeal to the grade.

If you have not had your ballot letter, please contact Barnet Council by email at unified.reward@barnet.gov.uk or post to The Unified Reward Team, London Borough of Barnet, North London Business Park, Oakleigh Road South, London, N11 1NP.

Ballot closes 24 November 2017.

 

 

 

Barnet Council Level 2 Teaching Assistants Grading Appeal ballot begins

Barnet Council have informed Barnet Unison that the ballot letters for all Level 2 Teaching Assistants in Community Schools will handed out on Tuesday 7 November 2017.

It is extremely important that every Level 2 Teaching Assistant responds to the ballot and makes sure they are send back a YES VOTE.

Over 600 Teaching Assistants will receive ballot papers.

We need everyone to vote yes in order that Barnet UNISON can submit the appeal to the grade.

If you have not had your ballot letter by 10 November, please contact Barnet Council by email at unified.reward@barnet.gov.uk or post to The Unified Reward Team, London Borough of Barnet, North London Business park, Oakleigh Road South, London, N11 1NP.

Ballot closes 24 November 2017.

Update: Street Scene restructures 8 November 2017

Dear Street Scene Unison member

On Wednesday 8th November, 2017 7.00 pm the General Functions Committee will meet to discuss a number of restructures.

You can view the report submitted to councillors here.

http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=174&MId=9284

For many staff this is a difficult time it is important that you speak with Unison in order we can offer advice and or assistance.

If you need any support and/or representation please contact the Barnet Unison office on 0208 359 2088 or email contactus@barnetunison.org.uk

TAXI 4 Housing repair contract in Islington

Taxi for ALMOs?

Islington Council has called off its housing repairs contract with Kier, deciding against a three-year extension option, and brought the work back in house.

Kier had been providing repair services to the London Borough of Islington’s 30,000 homes for the past 14 year under a £16.5m a year contract.

Cllr James Murray, Islington Council’s executive member for housing, said:

“This is an important milestone for Islington’s council housing. At the same time as building a new generation of council housing we want to provide a high-quality service for our residents.

“Two years ago we brought housing management back in-house – and now our decision to bringing the repairs service in-house too shows how important it is for us to get it right.

“By running the repairs service directly, we can ensure resident satisfaction is a priority over profit. Over time, we want to maximise local employment and apprenticeships, alongside supporting the workforce and reducing dependence on subcontractors.”

Excerpt from Islington council report:

There are two main options for Executive to consider:

An in-house service with a quantified estimate of potential financial risks

An extended contract subject to conditions that would have to be negotiated with Kier with unquantifiable financial risks.

The report continues that:

“An in-house option offers the best protection against further deterioration in the market for providing responsive repairs services. In recent years many councils and other housing providers have been hit hard when major contractors go out of business. Islington itself had a narrow escape when Connaught went out of business shortly before it was due to take up a capital investment contract, and some of our new-build has been delayed by the collapse of Rok.”

Conclusion

‘The in-house option carries potential short-to-medium term cost disadvantage, but in the longer run could be to the Council’s advantage. It also carries the risk of the service declining during a difficult transition. A well organised and well managed in-house service would provide better value for money and could reduce the financial risk of volatility in the market.’

http://democracy.islington.gov.uk/Data/Executive/201307111930/Agenda/F1.%20Kier%20responsive%20repairs%20contract%20review%20final.pdf

 

 

Hackney Carriage (Taxi) for Hackney Homes ALMO

 

The contract with Hackney Homes came to an end on 31 March 2016 as the council’s cabinet voted not to renew it.

Chair of Hackney Homes Rupert Tyson, and Vice Chair Alice Burke, who have been involved in Hackney housing for a combined 60 years, were present at the meeting.

All 33,742 Hackney Homes tenants were consulted on the plans through a process run by independent research agency Ipsos MORI.

Hackney Homes was formed in 2006 to deliver improvements to the council’s housing stock through the Decent Homes programme. The original five-year contract was extended to 2014 and subsequently to 2016.

Cllr Philip Glanville, Cabinet Member for Housing, said: “Hackney Council has come a long way over the last decade and Hackney Homes has been a major part of its success story.’

“I’d like to thank Hackney Homes’ Board, and staff for all of their hard work and look forward to welcoming them into the Council.’

Rupert Tyson said: “Hackney Homes and Hackney Council agree that the time has come to return housing management to the Council. Hackney Homes has achieved what it was established to do and I’m proud of our achievements over the last nine years and would echo Cllr Glanville’s thanks to my colleagues on the Board and the staff of Hackney Homes for their hard work over the last 9 years.”

 

Barnet UNISON Press Release “I have a Jewish neighbour and a Christian neighbour, and they are my brothers.”

At Barnet UNISON we were appalled to hear of the racist abuse being expressed against the planning application for an Islamic Centre at the Hippodrome in Golders Green.

The title of this piece comes from the press officer, Ahmed Al-Kazemi, of the Hippodrome Centre in Golders Green. This is just one comment made to appeal to those who would condemn the opening of the centre as an Islamic Centre on racial grounds.

We welcome and would echo the comments made by Rabbi Mark Goldsmith, of the Golders Green Alyth Reform congregation and Laura Marks, chair of the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust condemning the racism and appealing to a prouder anti-racist tradition.

We also support Barnet Council’s decision to remove all comments relating to this planning application from the public domain on its website.

We celebrate the fact that when the Bravanese Islamic Centre was tragically burnt down a few years ago, the response from all Faiths in the community and people from the broad anti-racist political spectrum was quick in rallying round to support that community and show solidarity.

This is the kind of Barnet we want to belong to.

We would very much like to be a part of a similar response to the racist abuse being levied at the Hippodrome Centre now.

For background information please read these articles:

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/london/racism-row-over-petition-to-stop-islamic-centre-being-opened-in-golders-green-hippodrome-a3659521.html

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2017/oct/14/golders-green-hippodrome-mosque-plan-rabbi-urges-calm

https://www.bod.org.uk/board-of-deputies-looks-forward-to-good-relations-with-new-muslim-community-centre-in-golders-green/

 

 

Taxi for Brent Council ALMO

Taxi for ALMOs?

 

As Austerity Policies continue their brutal assault on public services, Barnet UNISON has looked to see what is happening to the ALMO’s

Today is the first of a number updates on ALMO’s.

This post is about Brent Councils decision to bring their ALMO back in house here are some extracts from the Council reports.

Feel free to open the links and ready all of the reports yourself.

Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent Council’s Cabinet Member for Housing, said:

 “The interests of tenants and leaseholders are my top priority and the results of the consultation show now is the right time to bring housing management back in-house. This decision will allow us to respond more swiftly to the Government’s housing policies, deliver savings and ensure our tenants and leaseholders receive nothing but the best service in the future. Our decision also follows a national trend of local authorities bringing their housing ALMOs back in-house. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Board and everyone at BHP for their hard work over the past 14 years.”

Joanne Drew, Chair of BHP’s Board of Management, said:

 “BHP was set up to improve homes as part of the government’s Decent Homes Programme. We have always been committed to working with Brent Council and ensuring local residents are at the heart of the organisation. We will continue to work closely with the council, residents and staff over this transition period to provide modern, efficient and effective services for the benefit of all council tenants and leaseholders.”

Short Summary of the Review Report

Preferred Option

“The In-House option offers the best opportunity to make savings and provides the strongest levels of control. This option also puts the housing management service in a better position in relation to the Council’s wider plans to secure improved outcomes for residents. It will be necessary to look at how this option will address Member and resident engagement and there are various options that could be pursued. For example a Members and residents committee may overcome the loss of the ALMO Board under the In-House option. In conclusion, taking into account the challenging financial situation, and all other factors outlined above, it is recommended that the In-House option is chosen. This is the option which the Council believes will best serve residents in Brent but it wants their views on this proposal.”

https://www.brent.gov.uk/media/16406070/short-summary-of-review-of-housing-management-options-3.pdf

You can read all the reports click on this link

https://www.brent.gov.uk/housingreview

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